TWIN FALLS — Voters showed confidence in the current Twin Falls City Council on Tuesday when they chose to keep all three incumbents in office another four years.
The seats held by Suzanne Hawkins, Greg Lanting and Christopher Reid were up for grabs, with each incumbent running against at least one challenger.
In the most contested race this year, Seat 1, Suzanne Hawkins ran away with 51 percent of the vote against three challengers: Liyah Babayan, Leon Mills and Eric Smallwood. Babayan was the second top vote-getter with 25 percent; Mills carried about 15 percent and Smallwood finished with less than 9 percent.
In Seat 5, Greg Lanting beat challengers Tim Allen and Larry Houser with about 55 percent of the vote. Allen got 36 percent and Houser got about 9 percent.
For Seat 6, Christopher Reid won in a landslide against Brian Bell with 72 percent of the vote.
Part of the winning votes could be chalked up to advertising and door-knocking by the incumbents, but some say it also sends a message that the city is doing what it should.
“I think they see we are making good strides,” Hawkins said. “I’m excited for the next four years.”
Voter turnout appeared to be lower than it was in 2015, this time with just 14.7 percent of eligible registered voters casting ballots. Two years ago, 19 percent of voters cast ballots.
Hawkins said her first priority will continue mentor the city’s Youth Council, which now has the largest participation she’s ever seen.
She’d also like the city to finish road repairs after the past harsh winter. Other than that, Hawkins sees the next year as a time when the city should follow up on its existing commitments such as its steps to consider a recreation center.
“The city’s taken on a lot of projects,” she said.
Hawkins, 53, is the city’s vice mayor and was first appointed to City Council in 2012 to fill a vacancy, before getting elected in 2013. She and her husband own Computer Connection in Twin Falls.
Lanting also said he’d like to get street repairs funded as much as possible. But his top priority was getting the city to aid in workforce attraction and development.
“We need to continue working with CSI and industry partners, as well as our high schools, to get people ready for these high-paying jobs,” he said.
The city can do this by helping find grands and funds for workforce training.
The city also needs to ensure its rules are conducive to allowing affordable housing to come in, he said.
Lanting, 65, is a retired middle school principal was first elected to City Council in 2005. He served as mayor in 2012-2013 and will start his fourth — and possibly final — term next year.
Reid admitted he was feeling a little unsure on Election Day, since of the three incumbents he alone hadn’t been voted into office before. The 36-year-old works for Zions Bank and was appointed in January to fill a vacancy left by Don Hall.
Reid came to Twin Falls in 2011 when he made his initial bid for City Council, which failed. But he felt this time around, his years on the Planning and Zoning Commission and other committees have paid off.
“There’s plenty of ways in which you can get involved,” he said.
His priorities for the next four years will be ensuring the city maintains its infrastructure, such as roads and water lines. He’d like to see the city take a more proactive, versus reactive, approach on those budgets.
Reid also thinks the city should help “create an environment where people succeed” — and that might be by staying out of their way.
“I think government has a role, but it shouldn’t be a role to control you,” he said.”It should be something that you don’t normally notice that it’s there.”
Across Twin Falls, activity at polling places on Tuesday was a mixed bag.
Heritage Alliance Church in downtown Twin Falls was seeing a larger-than-usual turnout for a city election. By 1:30 p.m., 66 voters had cast ballots.
“That’s pretty high for our precincts,” said Heather Holston, chief judge for Twin Falls precincts 1 and 2.
Holston saw new registrations, too, as a result of people moving into the precincts from elsewhere in Twin Falls. A few more were new residents from out of state.
One misconception Holston was encountering Tuesday: A couple of people thought the Idaho governor’s race would be on the ballot, Holston said. That isn’t happening until 2018.
At Twin Falls County West on Addison Avenue West — home to precincts 15 and 16 — the turnout was “average” and “pretty slow,” said polling volunteer Rosalyn Varadi, daughter of Twin Falls County elections director Valerie Varadi.
Only 36 people had cast ballots by 1:45 p.m. Two people registered to vote after moving within Twin Falls city limits, but there hadn’t been any brand new voters.
Turnout with a “little slow” and steady with no lines at Amazing Grace Fellowship on Eastland Drive North, chief judge Dave Burgess said. The polling place includes precincts 22-24.
It was busy in the morning, but extremely slow in the afternoon, Burgess said about 2:45 p.m. At that point, he’d seen less than 10 percent voter turnout.
Throughout the county’s 23 precincts, only 4,065 people cast ballots — plus three ballots that came in as blank.
FILER — Recent turmoil between residents and city officials came to a head Tuesday in an election that promised a heavy turnout.
Former Mayor Bob Templeman, who lost to Rick Dunn in 2013, got 170 votes — 37 percent of the vote — to become mayor again in January.
Three other candidates ran against Templeman for mayor. Two of the candidates hoped to trade in their City Council seats to become the mayor. Russell “Bud” Sheridan, a former mayor with nearly three decades of city government experience, is at the end of his City Council term and received 132 votes. Ruby Allen, also at the end of her term, got 87 votes. David Vance, a 40-year resident, got 70 votes.
Dunn is retiring from politics at the end of his term, a campaign promise he made four years ago when he ran for the mayor’s seat.
Up for grabs were two four-year seats on the City Council now held by Sheridan and Allen. Political newcomers Samuel Callen, with 255 votes, and Candise Ramsey, with 205 votes, took the seats.
Past City Councilman Joseph Lineberry (164 votes), Joseph Durham (112 votes), Sharilynne Underwood (85 votes) and Carl J. Storey (30 votes) also ran.
Filer resident Janice Lang hasn’t missed an election in more than 30 years as a polling place volunteer.
On Tuesday, it was one of the busier local elections she has seen.
Filer has been in what its firefighters called “political chaos” since city officials began working on the 2017-18 budget. Dunn asked Sheriff Tom Carter to come up with a proposal to provide coverage for the town as a cost-cutting measure, to allow the city to fold its police department.
Instead of accepting the county’s proposal, the council fired Police Chief Tim Reeves at its July council meeting.
Petitioners gathered 230 signatures seeking a recall election this month for the mayor and most of city council, but the effort failed after the Twin Falls County Clerk’s Office disqualified dozens of the signatures.
In addition to city elections Tuesday, the Filer School District had a measure on ballots: renewal of a two-year, $500,000 annual supplemental levy, used for operational expenses such as to help maintain class sizes, passed with nearly 69 percent of the vote. The amount is the same as previous years.
A city marquee along Highway 30 in Filer displayed a message encouraging people to vote. At Filer Middle School’s gymnasium — the town’s only polling place — a stream of a few people were voting at a time. Cars filtered in and out of the parking lot frequently.
Lang said she also saw quite a few voter registrations and about half were from new voters — not those who just moved to town.
The turnout was “a little more than usual because we have more people running than we’ve ever had,” said Lang, chief judge for Filer’s Precinct No. 1. With everything happening in Filer, she said, “I think the interest is higher.”
If you do one thing: Arts on Tour presents a performance by The Quebe Sisters at 7:30 p.m. at the College of Southern Idaho Fine Arts Auditorium in Twin Falls. Tickets are $17 for adults and $10 for students, at the CSI Fine Arts box office.
Randall Patterson 21 P
Carey City Council (Vote for 2)
Lane Durtschi 23 P
Duane Edgington 18 P
Bellevue Aldermen (Vote for 3)
Ned Burns 51 P
Kathryn Goldman 59 P
Shaun Mahoney 65 P
Hailey City Council—Seat 1 (Vote for 1)
Jeff Bacon 376
Martha Burke 647 P
Hailey City Council—Seat 2 (Vote for 1)
Henno Heitur 310
Caz Thea 726 P
Initiative Petition 2017-1
No 921 P
Initiative Petition 2017-2
No 810 P
Neil Bradshaw 169 P
Nina Jonas 77
Ketchum City Council (Vote for 2)
Amanda Breen 117 P
Anne Corrock 88
Shannon Flavin 29
Mickey Garcia 18
Baird Gourlay 92 P
Courtney Hamilton 93 P
Anastasia Horan 9
Shawn Phillips 26
Sun Valley City Council (Vote for 2)
Brad Dufur 274 P
Keith Saks 267 P
Prop 1—Repeal Impact Fees
No 231 P
Prop 2—Eliminate Business Renewal Licenses
No 194 P
Sun Valley General Obligation Bond
Yes 235 P
Fairfield City Council (Vote for 2)
John Pine 25 P
Doug Hoskinson 28 P
Merlin Smedley 155
Steve Ormond 616 P
Burley City Council (Vote for 3)
Casey Andersen 621 P
Jon R. Anderson 540 P
Ralph Carlson 347
Bryce Morgan 592 P
Oakley City Council (Vote for 2)
Jeff Douglas 50 P
Ralph Barnard 46 P
Malta City Council (Vote for 2)
Richard Hall 37 P
Amador Maldonado 30 P
Declo City Council (Vote for 2)
Clinton Heward 14 P
Ronald Don Knowles 15 P
Albion City Council (Vote for 2)
Zack Alexander 39 P
Michael L. Gailey 28
Kevin Lloyd 31 P
Oregon Trail Recreation District
Yes 35 P
Bliss City Council (Vote for 2)
Don R. Clemmons 15 P
Ted E. James 19 P
Hagerman City Council (Vote for 2)
Steven Bland 97 P
Alan Jay 102 P
Carl Jeffries 73
Jeff Brekke 286 P
Walter C. Nelson 218
Gooding City Council (Vote for 2)
Chuck Cram 271
Diane Houser 211
Mel Magnelli 209
Colin D. Smith 254 P
Lori Swainston 139 P
Wendell City Council (Vote for 2)
Herb Allred 134 P
Seaira Gold 120 P
Francis H. Parish 68
Hagerman Cemetery District
Yes 206 P
Gooding Fire Annex Advisory
Yes 354 P
Gooding Fire District Levy
Yes 199 P
Eden City Council (vote for 3)
Michelle Taylor 25 P
Tony Wallis 23 P
Blaine Campbell 27 P
Hazelton City Council (vote for 2)
LuAnn Gergen 85 P
Matt Kimmel 32
Art Watkins 77 P
Jerry Downs 22
Dave Davis 268 P
Jerome City Council (Vote for 2)
Robert W. Culver 223 P
Jason L. Peterson 199 P
Daniel Pierson 191 P
Sharon Pennington 94
Shoshone City Council (Vote for 2)
Payson Reese 181 P
Tammy Swaner 159 P
Lincoln County Recreation District (Vote for 1)
Kathy Marsh 356 P
Danny Logan 240
Dietrich City Council (Vote for 2)
Robin Southwick Burton 18 P
Connie Anderson 7 P
Richfield City Council (Vote for 2)
Ron Holland 35
Danny Ward 32
Levi Long 46 P
Tammy Wayment 17
Mark Whitesell 36 P
Shoshone School Bond
No 173 P
Minidoka County Schools # 331 levy
Yes 622 P
Rupert City Council—2 year term
Todd B. McGhie 154 P
Rupert City Council—4-year term (Vote for 2)
Joel L. Heward 165 P
Tammy Jones 139 P
Paul City Council (Vote for 2)
Brent Stimpson 62 P
Brent Browning 64 P
Heyburn City Council—2-year term
Rose Schmitt 211 X
Heyburn City Council—4-year term (Vote for 2)
Chad Anderson 176 P
Michael Covington 49
Dick L. Galbraith 112 tie
Glen Loveland 112 tie
Nile Bohon 28
Minidoka City Mayor
Becky Ziebach 11
James Cook 12 P
Minidoka City Council (Vote for 1)
Minidoka City Council (Vote for 2)
Carman Rodriguez 16 P
Dawn Walker 6
Martin Merrill 12 P
Bonny Hofmeister 8
Larry Wall 10 P
Acequia City Council (Vote for 2)
Terri McBride 10 P
Darlene Moser 8 P
Twin Falls City Council—Seat 1
Leon Mills 385
Suzanne Hawkins 1,323 P
Liyah Babayan 651
Eric M. Smallwood 225
Twin Falls City Council—Seat 5
Tim Allen 911
Larry Houser 220
Greg Lanting 1,378 P
Twin Falls City Council—Seat 6
Christopher A. Reid 1,729 P
Brian Bell 683
Rock Creek Fire District Commissioner
Doug Fisher 325 P
Mike Hendricks 218
Brad Perkins 489 P
Murtaugh City Council (Vote for 2)
Christina Andersen 14 P
Brenda L. Bowman 6
Gerald Dillman 13 P
Kimberly City Council (Vote for 2)
Nancy Duncan 134 P
Robert Tomlinson 121 P
Danny Reed 15
Jayne Self 16 P
Slade Gonzalez (write-in) 11
Hollister City Council—2 year seat (Vote for 2)
Lynn Ginder 38 P
David Grosshans 35 P
Hollister City Council—4 year seat (Vote for 2)
James E. LaRue 39 P
Hansen City Council (Vote for 2)
Tony Bohrn 52
Nicanor “Nico” Huizar 42
Veronica Rodriguez 128 P
Paul Will 93 P
Ruby Allen 87
Russell Sheridan Jr. 132
Bob Templeman 170 P
David R. Vance 70
Filer City Council (Vote for 2)
Samuel Callen 255 P
Joseph Durham 112
Joseph Lineberry 164
Candise A. Ramsey 205 P
Carl J. Storey 30
Sharilynne Underwood 85
Curtis Harkins 11
Herbert W. Runyan 18 P
Castleford City Council—2 year term
Justin Clark 28 P
Castleford City Council—4 year term (Vote for 2)
Pansy A. Pettit 26 P
Roxanne Stiegemeier 20 P
Tom McCauley 79 P
Buhl City Council (Vote for 2)
Susan Gabardi 65 P
Michael Higbee 72 P
Filer School levy
Yes 503 P
BURLEY — Burley voters kept three city councilmen in their seats Nov. 7 and elected a new mayor.
Steve Ormond took 616 votes for mayor to incumbent Merlin Smedley’s 155 votes.
Incumbents Jon R. Anderson, Bryce Morgan and Casey Andersen all retained their four-year seats.
Andersen took 621 votes, Morgan 592 and Anderson 540. Newcomer Ralph Carlson trailed with 347 votes.
“I was really apprehensive and nervous today,” Ormond said. “Merlin had a good following. But I am very excited to be elected.”
Ormond said he is most excited about working with the City Council.
“They may have different votes but in the end they move forward and don’t rehash things,” Ormond said.
Ormond plans to focus on garnering support to relocate the airport and tackling growth problems in the city.
“We’re really excited to see this growth but we have to make sure it’s good for the city,” he said.
A retired bank manager, Ormond will bring expertise in working with people to the position along with his financial understanding of business and staff management and the community.
Councilmen Anderson and Morgan also expressed a desire to continue to work toward a new airport for the community. Andersen could not be reached on Tuesday for comment.
Anderson said water issues and relocating the airport are two of the most pressing issues.
“In the long run having an airport will mean a lot to the community,” he said. “We have to get that message out to people. It will be critically important in the next 100 years.”
Anderson said he is excited to continue to work with the Council.
“I’ve been around a while and this is a really good Council. I’m thankful the people in the city gave me this opportunity,” he said.
Morgan said the existing Council has worked well together and “it’s been a healing four years.”